TWELVE YEARS after their debut, Turin Brakes’ new album We Were Here sees the band going full circle. Singer-guitarist Olly Knights explains.
“It’s the first time we’ve ever made a record that takes into context the records we’ve already made,” he says. “Normally we just go for future-facing progression at all costs. Progression is great, but if you keep just trying to be different eventually you lose something, whether it be your audience or the thing that made you special. We wondered what would happen if we made a record now that had the same kind of sonic and emotive ideas as our first album. We thought that might be more interesting, and in a way this is the ultimate Turin Brakes album. We’ve put ourselves in the fans’ shoes for a second, and tried to make the record they would want. The reaction in the UK has been exactly what we hoped for; a lot of old fans feeling like we’ve made the record they always wanted us to make, and it has that same mid-seventies feel as The Optimist.”
The folk-rock duo, consisting of Knights and Gale Paridjanian, went as far as using reel-to-reel tapes in search of sounds of old.
“It was how we made our first record,” he says. “Then computers got better and faster after that, so we left the reel-to-reels behind. Computers can be both good and bad for music. On this record we felt we wanted to get away from the cut and paste nature of a computer; you can spend too much time tweaking things to death whereas with tape you can’t. It’s very healthy to simply have to get it right and move on. For some bands who have grown up with computers it wouldn’t make sense, but the whole point with Turin Brakes is that we can just get into a room and play a song, and we wanted to make a record that made use of that.”
Australian fans of the band shouldn’t have to wait too long for the chance to see them in the flesh.
“There’s talk now of hopefully getting down there in Australian winter, 2014,” he says. “We had such a great experience earlier in the year when we came over. It felt like there were still a lot of Turin Brakes fans in Australia, so it was really wonderful for us.”
WE WERE HERE BY TURIN BRAKES IS OUT NOW